The second characteristic component of regret is a sense of bewilderment.
So the other thing I thought about there in my bedroom that night was, "How could I have done that? What was I thinking?"
This real sense of alienation from the part of us that made a decision we regret.
We can't identify with that part. We don't understand that part.
And we certainly don't have any empathy for that part-which explains the third consistent component of regret, which is an intense desire to punish ourselves.
That's why, in the face of our regret, the thing we consistently say is, "I could have kicked myself."
The fourth component here is that regret is what psychologists call perseverative.
To perseverate means to focus obsessively and repeatedly on the exact same thing.
Now the effect of perseveration is to basically take these first three components of regret and put them on an infinite loop.
So it's not that I sat there in my bedroom that night, thinking, "Make it go away."
It's that I sat there and I thought, "Make it go away. Make it go away. Make it go away. Make it go away."
So if you look at the psychological literature, these are the four consistent defining components of regret.